RuPaul’s Drag Race alums join Lizzo onstage in Tennessee amid drag ban

Lizzo took the stage in Tennessee with RuPaul’s Drag Race alums. Pic credit: @lizzobeeating/Instagram

Grammy award-winning artist, Lizzo, took the stage while on tour in Tennessee with some notable RuPaul’s Drag Race stars defying recent bans on drag performances.

Lizzo’s stage performance featured several Drag Race alums, including Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Kandy Muse, and Vanessa Vanjie. She thanked the queens for showing their pride in Tennessee and addressed comments on the internet urging her to cancel the second leg of her The Special 2our.

“In light of recent and tragic events and current events, I was told by people on the internet, ‘Cancel your shows in Tennessee, don’t go to Tennessee,’” Lizzo said onstage at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. “Their reason was valid, but why would I not come to the people who need to hear this message the most? Why would I not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate drag entertainers and celebrate our differences?”

The Tennessee bill was signed in March by Republican Governor Bill Lee, and the new law forbids “adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or in locations where it could be viewed by a minor, defining the term as “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators.”

Tennessee federal judge Thomas Parker cited constitutional protections of freedom of speech and halted the bill by issuing a temporary restraining order in March, hours before it was to take effect.

Lizzo posted a clip on social media of her speech when the queens joined her onstage to show their pride and support for the art of drag.

She later named and thanked each performer for standing up with her amid the looming ban.

Lizzo isn’t the only entertainer to support RuPaul’s Drag Race and speak out about drag bans

Last March, social media influencer Mikayla Nogueira attended RuPaul’s Drag Race Live in Las Vegas and spoke out about the more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced by conservative lawmakers nationwide.

She said she was disappointed by people who want to ban drag as an art form when it doesn’t hurt anyone and brings so much joy.

Actress and Comedian Melissa McCarthy posted on Instagram about the hypocrisy of anti-drag supporters and lawmakers entertained by drag performances all their lives.

During an interview, legendary music artist Shania Twain told GLAAD that she admired the talent of drag performers, adding, “We need drag queens to share their talent with us.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race, MTV, and World of Wonder promote the ACLU’s Drag Defense Fund

During the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 finale, RuPaul’s Drag Race, MTV, and World of Wonder announced their joint efforts with the ACLU to support the Drag Defense Fund.

The fund is designed to push back against anti-drag and anti-trans legislation with legal battles to protect civil liberties nationwide. Many performers, including Mama Ru, have come out to promote the fund.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 finalist Sasha Colby spoke about what drag meant to her before the live taping.

“Drag has influenced everything about my queer identity — as a performer, as a trans individual, drag has just blurred all of the things I love and am into getting to be this kind of walking art installation that is also a protest.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 8 premiers May 12 on Paramount+.

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